Join activists combating obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in communities of color by encouraging healthy, animal and earth-friendlier plant-based diets and increasing access to fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains in neighborhoods where healthy food is largely unavailable. Discuss culturally sensitive approaches to promoting healthy eating and strategies for overcoming access and economic barriers to life-sustaining foods.
Ruth Santana, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment
Bina Ahmad, Legal Consultant, National Lawyers Guild, will discussing veganism and animal rights from her perspective as a Muslim woman of color. She will discuss the challenges and strategies in reaching out to Muslim communities of color and her experience being a member of this community while also advocating for animal rights from within these communities.
Doris Lin, Legal Director, Animal Protection League of New Jersey, will discuss offensive race- and ethnicity-based animal rights campaigns, and recognizing one’s own privileges.
Donnie Smith, blogger, Blackveganism, will be talking about veganism in communities of color and access to food. At the same time he will be talking about race, class and other issues that are connected to food.
Terry Hope Romero, Author, Vegan Latina
Konju Oruwari, graduate student and blogger, Green Chimurenga, will discuss the need for critical thinking and consideration of the broader dynamics of social injustice and imposed human inequities when imagining and advocating wider adoption of plant-based lifestyles.
Tools, Skills and Messages Participants Will Take Home:
Audience members will gain an understanding of:
- the problem of food deserts and access to healthy foods
- obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases facing communities of color
- cultural barriers to accepting plant-based diets in communities of color
- why the approach to plant-based diets presented by white and middle class vegan advocates isn’t practical for many people of color (expensive processed foods only sold at health food stores that don’t exist in many communities) vs. CSAs working to provide healthy, affordable, whole foods in communities of color
- how people of color can work to promote plant-based diets and eating in their own communities and how white allies can support them.
- how white advocates for plant-based diets can avoid turning off people of color with condescension, self-righteousness, unwillingness to listen and dialogue, and a failure to see the world from outside of their own cultural experience and privileged position to consider other people’s realities.
Doris will look at when an animal rights campaign becomes a race- or ethnicity-based campaign.
Bina will address Islam and how it intersects with animal rights, and how to reach out to Islamic communities by approaching the animal rights narrative in an Islamic, culturally sensitive manner.
Donnie: “It’s not just about people becoming vegan. We need to understand that veganism is made up of a very privileged group of individuals in our society. I want people to be open and understanding.”
Konju: Participants will be prompted to consider more deeply the consequences of deep inequality, injustice and the status-quo social violence of discriminatory and inhumane policies upon the pursuit of vegan consciousness. They will consider how the priorities of human liberation and justice may complicate considerations for non-human liberation, and begin to contemplate ways to reveal to others how an overarching culture of violence intertwines both issues. Participants will begin to consider skillful means of communicating how a plant-based lifestyle itself can liberate both humans and non-humans and promote social justice, health and a more sustainable human civilization in better harmony with non-human plants and animals.
About the Moderator:
Ruth Santana is an activist in the animal rights, Latin America solidarity, and trade justice movements. She works as an occupational therapist and teaches metalwork / jewelry making at the School of Visual Arts.
About the Presenters:
Bina Ahmad is an animal rights activist, a member of the Muslim Defense committee, and an Executive Committee member of the NYC National Lawyers Guild, focusing on Occupy Wall Street criminal and civil cases.
Terry Hope Romero: Cornell Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition. Books: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Viva Vegan!: Authentic Vegan Latina American Recipes.
Donnie Smith is a vegan living in Brooklyn, NY. He has been involved in the animal rights movement for 5 years or longer. He believes that food is power and that is something that he’s working towards.
Konju Oruwari is a Pan-Africanist and third-world internationalist writer and activist. He has been vegan for 13 years. He currently studies occupational therapy at Columbia University. His blog, Green Chimurenga, can be found at africanvegans.com.